US pursues Vietnamese tra, basa fish investigations

(VOV) -Vietnamese tra and basa fish will continue to face challenges in the US as the Senate recently did not approve stopping the investigation into these imported products.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said that the US Senate adopted its 2013 Farm Bill on June 10. However, the bill did not include some key proposals on food safety by Senator John Mc Cain from Arizona and Senator Jeanne Shaheen from New Hamshire regarding the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) halting its controversial investigations into Vietnamese tra and basa fish.

Last year, Senators John McCain and John Kerry from Massachusetts presented a draft bill on waiving the USDA’s tra and basa fish investigations and the bill was approved at the Senate in June 2012.

This year, many Senators have voiced strong support for removing the investigations. As a result, a similar draft bill was proposed in the House of Representatives and later adopted by the Agricultural Committee of the House of Representatives at the end of May 2013.

Ten more congressmen have rejected the investigations. In his draft financial budget for 2014, President Barack Obama also recommended waiving the investigation to avoid overlapping management among the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the USDA, which would save US$14 million next year.

A number of congressmen warned that the investigation of tra and basa fish may lead to a similar reaction against US beef exports in foreign markets.

VASEP Secretary General Truong Dinh Hoe said the Senate’s latest vote demonstrates inconsistency among US lawmakers.

In the first half of this year, tra export earnings are estimated at US$$800 million, which is lower than the shrimp export value, and local seafood exporters will face more difficulties in the second half of this year,according to the VASEP.